Skip to main content

Apprentices happier in their work than graduates, study reveals

News article image

Young people who choose an apprenticeship after leaving school are three times more likely to experience job satisfaction than those who progress into work via university, according to new research.

They survey by the website reveals those who choose work-based learning after A-levels are more satisfied in their job than university graduates.

A total of 2,658 adults aged 21-30, all of whom were in full time work, were questioned as part of ongoing research into which demographic is the happiest and most satisfied with their chosen career path. Those surveyed were split evenly into two categories – former apprentices and former university graduates.

Only 26 per cent of university graduates agreed that they were fully satisfied in their present employment, compared to 68 per cent of former apprentices.

Graduates who said they were not happy were asked why, with the most common reason (53 per cent) given being that their degree did not sufficiently prepare them for their chosen industry.

Some 17 per cent said their salary was a lot lower than they expected, while 14 per cent said they would have progressed further in their career if they hadn’t chosen to go to university.

Sharon Walpole, chief executive of, said: “It certainly seems that university doesn’t make for a happier individual, and perhaps points towards the fact that many graduates leave higher education with unrealistic expectations of what their degree can offer them in terms of career opportunities.”

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you